Details of Railway Accidents in the Ottawa Area

1919, April 22 - Canadian National Passenger train derails at Elgin, Smiths Falls sub. No injuries but VIPs aboard

Ottawa Journal 22 April 1919

Sir Thomas White And Party In Wreck
Acting Premier And Gen. Mewburn In A Train Wreck
Six Coaches on C.N.R. Train Derailed West of Ottawa Today.
Cars Remained Upright and No One Is Injured
Lady Drayton Was Somewhat Shaken But Not Seriously.
Associated Press by Leased Wire.

Toronto, April 22. - The Canadian National Railways has issued the following statement:

"When the regular Canadian National passenger train which left Toronto at 10:55 last night was passing Elgin station, en route for Ottawa at 5.03 o’clock this morning, six of the eleven
coaches making up the train were derailed from a cause at present unknown.
"Cars remained upright in the station yard and no one was injured. Elgin is 64 miles west of Ottawa and the train was running on time.
"Among the passengers were Mr. D.B. Hanna, president of the line, Sir Thos. White, and General Mewburn. An extra train was made up to which the passengers were transferred. This train left Elgin at 9.15 for the capital city."

Some Shaken Up.

The C.N.R. train with the passengers in the wreck arrived in Ottawa about one o’clock. There were three private cars on the train, one for Sir Thomas White, one for Gen. Mewburn, and one for Mr. Hanna.
Sir Henry and Lady Drayton, who were travelling with Mr. Hanna, got a bad shaking up but were able to continue their journey. Mr. Hanna was also knocked about some. All were imprisoned in their car. The doors had to be pried open with crow bars.
Mr. Hanna’s coach was nearly upset, and rested at a dangerous angle. The passengers in the sleeping cars and those in the other private cars were practically unaware that anything had happened except for the sudden application of the brakes.

Bumped Along Ties.

Mr. Hanna’s car was third from the engine and was the first one to be derailed. The engine and the two baggage cars remained on the main line, but the six cars following were bumped along the ties and plowed great holes in the right of way. The rails were badly twisted.
Some passengers in the sleeping cars did not even awaken during the accident.
President Hanna, in an interview after an examination of the switch, said it looked as if the switch had been left unlocked by the crew of a way freight which passed through a few hours before.
He added, however, that an investigation would be held.

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Updated 17 June 2018